He is an ordinary man. At least in my eyes. To some he is extraordinarily funny, faster with a joke or a quip than the most celebrated comedian. To others he is extraordinarily talented, able to fix faulty warp cores with a single, strong kick. Still to others he is extraordinarily loyal, a friend through thick and thin, good times and bad. And still to one other he is extraordinarily annoying, illustrating with crystal clarity all the frustrating faults and idiosyncrasies of the human race. But I know better. He is all these things to all those people, but to me, with me, around me... he is simply himself. An ordinary man. And that's what makes his hold over me all the more extraordinary.

He isn't always fun and games. He has his serious side, and I have seen it far more often than I would like. It is truly a crime to make that face be anything less than joyful, that mouth do anything but smile. But it has happened. I have been with him in life to near death and back again. I have seen him skirt the pit of despair just to pull him back again. He's American, and he's a southerner. They do everything big, loud and hard, including feel. Everything hits him hard, and everything touches him profoundly. Awe and wonder, joy and happiness, sadness and sorrow... it all plays across his face with startling strength. I have seen him cry.

He doesn't know all the answers. When he doesn't get it right away, he kicks and screams, jumps from foot to foot with nervous energy. He will drive himself to throwing PADDs across the room, twisting equipment with his own two hands, and doing more damage to the punching bag than I could even dream. But never in front of his people. He doesn't stop until he has the problem figured out. He has stayed up hours, days, whole weeks because some problem has been nagging at him. He will ponder for hours, head hung in dogged persistence, raising it only to smile meekly and whisper his thanks as I hand him another cup of coffee. I have seen him struggle.

He isn't always sure. He has his reservations and misgivings like the rest of us. He will follow his captain into the depths of hell and back, but at night he will sit in the darkness and watch the stars, wondering and agonizing. Did we do the right thing? Have we done enough? When his next shift comes around, he will shake off his worry and smile easily, remaining the stalwart friend, the good ole buddy that he is expected to be. But the anxiety still hides in the furrows of his brow and the lines around his eyes, the inquisition still continues in his soul. I have seen him doubt.

And T'Pol's right. He is annoying. He isn't perfect. I have seen him falter. We all do. He has made mistakes in judgement. He has acted inappropriately in several situations. He can be closed-minded and foolhardy. He can leap to the wrong conclusions and bite off more than he can chew. He can be angry, passionate and unprofessional. He can be obstinate, rough and rude. He stumbles. But he picks himself up after he falls. He apologizes, makes amends, and admits when he's wrong. He learns. He is a good man. I have seen him try.

He is no Superman. He bleeds, just like the rest of us. This is a fact I know all too well. How many times have I risked my life for his? How many times have I gone above and beyond the call of my duty to protect him, more than anyone else? How far have I gone to ensure that those sky blue eyes will lazily flutter open the next morning, warm, loving and sparkling? That those gorgeous lips will twitch with the shadow of a smile and move to form meaningless mutters of his sleepy brain, words that have no meaning in the fog of early morning consciousness? That those callous hands will slid over my skin, pulling me back to bed, making clear the command that his brain cannot make his lips pronounce at this hour?

I could never go far enough.